The aims of the Institute are to foster collaborative, multidisciplinary environmental based research through a number of key research thematic areas, to train post-graduate research students for careers in the environmental sciences and engineering and, to facilitate the transfer of technology to industry. The Institute currently has a total of 64 Principal Investigators, 70 non-tenured researchers and 65 postgraduate students involved in research activities in the Environment, Marine and Energy areas (over 40% of researchers are from outside of Ireland). From 2006-2010 ERI researchers have published 699 peer-reviewed research papers and a total of 138 PhD and MSc students have graduated under the supervision of ERI PIs. In this same time period recurrent research income from both national and international funding agencies has totaled €37 M. One of the constituent centers within the ERI is the Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Centre (Director Dr Sarah Culloty) based within the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. The School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences is one of the most successful Schools in University College Cork in terms of numbers of PhDs produced and research grant income. This research is principally investigator-led and spans community, whole-organism, cellular, molecular and environmental biology, biotechnology and ecology of marine, freshwater and terrestrial eukaryotic organisms. Research collaborations range across seven continents and links are in their hundreds. Aquaculture and Fisheries Research is housed within the Aquaculture and Fisheries Research Centre which covers the themes of health and disease in aquatic organisms, aquaculture of marine and freshwater species, fisheries biology, marine mammals and molecular ecology and conservation genetics. The centre has 6 principal Investigators, 2 senior researchers, 5 postdoctoral researchers, 15 PhD students and 6 Research Assistants. Research in the Aquaculture and Fisheries centre in the area of health and research has concentrated in the last 20 years on research into commercially significant shellfish and has concentrated on diseases of molluscs primarily, including bonamiosis in O. edulis, Brown ring disease in clams and summer mortalities in Crassostrea Gigas. The centre has 1200 m2 of facilities including two tank rooms and a range of laboratories.
Dr. Sarah Culloty is Director of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Centre. The main emphasis of my research is in the area of invertebrate pathology and immunology. Much of the research focuses on diseases of commercially significant bivalve shellfish such as host: parasite interactions, epidemiology, parasite life cycles, diagnostics and mathematical modelling of host: parasite interactions. Sarah currently heads a team of 2 Postdoctoral Researchers, 2 Research Assistants and 6 PhD students.
She has received funding from 6 nationally funded projects and 10 internationally funded projects. A variety of ERDF and EU funded studies are ongoing such as: SUSFISH, OYSTERRECOVER, BIVALIFE, and BEADS.